The FAI has moved to issue a statement following Callum Robinson's revelation that he is not vaccinated from Covid-19, saying it "accepts the right of all individuals".

Republic of Ireland manager Stephen Kenny did not disclose how many of the players have not taken the vaccine, but when asked was the number in single figures or above 10 and he replied that "I don't have exact figures, but it wouldn’t be too many more than that".

The figures sit alongside the average of the Premier League where 13 of the 20 clubs in the top division of English football have squads where fewer than 50% of the players vaccinated.

Robinson's comments have brought a wave of publicity as the first player to openly discuss their policy.

The West Brom player failed to give a reason for not utilising the vaccine when asked.

Kenny said Robinson's "personal belief" must be taken account and this afternoon the FAI have also defended the situation.

A statement read: "The Football Association of Ireland can confirm that all players and staff are tested for Covid-19 before reporting for international duty with Republic of Ireland teams and are tested repeatedly in camp in line with FAI and UEFA protocols.

"We have encouraged all our players at all levels of the game to be vaccinated but we respect and must accept the right of all individuals to make a personal choice on Covid-19 vaccination.

"The association will continue to exercise the highest standards for the safety of all our stakeholders. Our Covid-19 testing protocols for all players and staff on international duty strictly follow UEFA protocols and are compliant with all Irish Government guidelines.

"The FAI reconfirms our support for all Government, UEFA and FIFA protocols during the Covid-19 pandemic. We thank all our stakeholders for their ongoing exemplary compliance with Government guidelines over the last 19 months."

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When asked on RTÉ's Drivetime whether Callum Robinson should give a reason as to why he won't take the vaccine, Minister for Sport, Jack Chambers stated that such a choice could be aired in private consultation with health professionals.

"It would be good if the public health professionals and the public health doctors who are engaged with their clubs and the sporting system at a professional level engaged with those privately," was Chambers' response.

The Dublin West TD was at pains, however, to stress the that it would be "much more positive for sporting role models to show leadership, to speak positively, about the vaccine".

He continued: "The sporting system wouldn't be back with the level of spectators we have seen, with the level of participation we are currently seeing, without the success of the vaccination rollout. That applies to here and across Europe.

"The one thing we've had across Irish society is a huge uptake across all age cohorts in the vaccination rollout which has given us all the collective protection for our families, friends and communities. We've also seen that reflected across sport.

"We've had Shamrock Rovers manager Stephen Bradley talk about it in recent days, in how his own players have taken a mature outlook. It's absolutely preferable that we have people as role models speaking positively and encouraging people speaking to take the Covid vaccine. Any of us without a vaccine can be subjected to the devastating impacts of Covid."

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